Namsov Seamen Protest ‘Mistreatment’

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By Charles Tjatindi

WALVIS BAY

Seagoing employees of NAMSOV Fishing Enterprises on Tuesday held a demonstration alleging unfair labour practices at the company.

In a petition delivered to the management of NAMSOV, the workers alleged the company had not given them benefits promised in their employment contracts.

The employees placed Namsov’s Manager for Human Resources, Wilhelm Kafidi, at the top of the list of culprits allegedly guilty of reducing their benefits since he joined the company in 2004.

Waving placards that read: “Change your bad attitude”, and “We don’t want you no more”, the workers tried to draw management’s attention to the alleged ill-treatment they have suffered at the hands of Kafidi.

“Last year, Mr Kafidi tried to betray us with our pension fund. Mr Kafidi, we don’t like your leadership style of dictatorship,” the employee’s petition reads.

The workers further alleged Kafidi has hired of employees on tribal grounds, as well as practiced nepotism.

“When [since] Kafidi came on board, recruitment is done through tribalism and nepotism. The same applies to promotions and permanent appointments,” the workers alleged.

Kafidi, they said, also pulled the plug on a proposed housing scheme, which workers claim management had already approved.

The employees therefore requested the company’s board of directors to immediately replace their HR Manager with a “more competent person”.

“We want him replaced. Mr Kafidi should stop calling us stupid seamen. He is a dictator. Now he is threatening us with retrenchment, which is pure intimidation to us. He does not respect us as crew,” noted the workers.

Marketing Manager, Herman Smith, received the petition, promising the company would urgently look at the matter.

Acting Regional Chairperson of the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union, NAFAWU, Philipus Heita, told New Era that although his union had negotiated on the employees’ behalf for a long time, nothing concrete had come out of the negotiations.

“That is why we decided to hold this demonstration. The workers are frustrated, they had no other alternative left,” said Heita.

Kafidi was not available for comment. Smith could not specifically state what course of action the company might take to address the workers’ demands.

“We will consider the petition as per standard practice,” was all he could say.

Management was given two days to respond to the employees’ demands, failing which workers would take unspecified action.

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